Co-founder of Sony Pictures Classics to speak on Tarleton campus

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Michael Barker

STEPHENVILLE (March 10, 2015) — Co-founder and co-president of Sony Pictures Classics Michael Barker will speak on the campus of Tarleton State University as part of the Speaker Symposium Lecture Series.

The Tuesday, March 17 talk on “The Business of Film” will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Clyde H. Wells Fine Arts Center Theater. The event is free and open to the public.

“Mr. Barker is a very busy man, he is always working on several projects at once. It is not often that we are able to host someone of his calibre and I am appreciative that he is so gracious,” said Dr. Marcy Tanter, chair of the Speaker Symposium committee. “His insights will not only be of interest to film buffs, but to anyone who wants a career in the entertainment industry.”

Sony Pictures Classics celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2012, having distributed and often produced some of the finest independent movies of the past 30 years under Barker and co-founder Tom Bernard. Previously Barker was an executive at United Artists (1980-1983) and co-founded Orion Classics (1983-1991).

Barker’s films have received 158 Academy Awardnominations, including several for Best Picture: Amour; Woody Allen’s most successful film, Midnight in Paris; An Education; Capote, for which Philip Seymour Hoffman won the Academy Award for Best Actor; Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, the highest grossing foreign film in North America, and Howards End. Most recently, Sony Pictures Classics received the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role, for which Julianne Moore took the top honor in Still Alice; and Best Actor in a Supporting Role for J.K. Simmons in Whiplash.

His companies’ Academy Award nominations resulted in 32 wins (most recently Cate Blanchett for Best Actress in Blue Jasmine), including five for Best Documentary Feature, most recently for Searching for Sugarman, Inside Job and Fog of War, and 12 for Best Foreign Language Film, which include Babette’s Feast, All About My Mother, The Lives of Others, A Separation and Amour. Other notable honors include 36 Independent Spirit Awards and 22 Golden Globe Awards.

Barker has collaborated with some of the world’s finest filmmakers—Woody Allen, Pedro Almodovar, Mike Leigh, Louis Malle and Zhang Yimou, all of whom he’s worked with on multiple occasions—as well as Robert Altman, Michelangelo Antonioni, Suzanne Bier, Ingmar Bergman, Francis Coppola, David Cronenberg, Guillermo del Toro, the Dardenne brothers, Jonathan Demme, R W Fassbinder, Michael Haneke, Nicole Holofcener, Akira Kurosawa, Norman Jewison, Ang Lee, Richard Linklater, David Mamet, Errol Morris, Roman Polanski, Sally Potter, Francois Truffaut and Wim Wenders.

Over the years, Barker has released features from American masters (Only Lovers Left Alive, Rachel Getting Married, Sweet and Lowdown) and new American filmmakers (Take Shelter, Pollock, Slacker, Welcome to the Dollhouse, Frozen River); cutting edge films (Kung Fu Hustle, Moon, Orlando, Run Lola Run, The Raid); animated features (The Triplets of Bellville, Persepolis, Waltz With Bashir); feature documentaries (Dogtown And The Z Boys, Crumb, Winged Migration, It Might Get Loud, The Gatekeepers, Tim’s Vermeer,The Armstrong Lie) and foreign films (Ran a Prophet, White Ribbon, Talk to Her, Central Station, Wings of Desire).

Barker and his colleagues also restored and theatrically reissued some of the great films of the past, including The Passenger, The Garden of the Finzi Continis, Murmur of the Heart and the classic films of Indian master Satyajit Ray.

Barker has received numerous awards: the Honors Award from the Directors Guild of America, the Chevalier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres from the French government, the FINDIE Spirit Award in Los Angeles, the GLAAD Media Award and the Gotham Industry Lifetime Achievement Award from the Independent Feature Project in New York.

Under his and Bernard’s leadership, Sony Pictures Classics received the Special Recognition Award from the Sony Corporation CEO two years in a row (1999 and 2000).  Most recently, he and Bernard received the Chevalier of the Legion of Honor from the French government in acknowledgment of their contributions to French culture over the past 30 years, as well as the Spirit of Independence Award from Film Independent at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival.

Barker currently serves as co-chairman of the Museum of the Moving Image Board of Trustees, the Entertainment Media and Technology Dean’s Advisory Board at the New York Univesity Stern School of Business, the Visiting Committee to the Division of the Humanities at the University of Chicago, and has served as adjunct professor at the Columbia University School of the Arts Graduate Film Program. He has a bachelor of science degree from the University of Texas at Austin.

For more information about the Speaker Symposium Lecture Series and upcoming presenters, visitwww.tarleton.edu/speakersymposium. To read more about Barker’s work, see www.sonyclassics.com.

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